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Old 05-25-2010, 05:51 AM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2009
Home Port: St. Augustine FL
Vessel Name: Linnupesa
Posts: 189

Having seen an instructor demonstrate how not to do a remote mooring release and get the line all tangled up while trying to thread it back aboard, I thought there has to be a better way. I'm moored to buoys at both ends in a tidal river that sometimes runs at several knots, so I need a surefire release method. Each time, every time, tide or not.

Typically, a line just gets looped through a mooring ring or loop and doubled back to the boat. To release, you untie one of the boat ends and just pull the rest all back in. Problem solved, in theory at least. In practice, it is all too easy to have the line snap back and coil up on itself or any and everything nearby. Your frustrated yanking jams up things only worse and the far loose end then starts getting sucked in closer and closer to the propwalk, as you try to keep from drifting into that shiny new Oyster alongside. Now that'll make for some expensive noise!

So, what I want is a method to untie a hitch or whatever by pulling on my release line from the deck. The release line needs to untie the main mooring line leaving only perhaps a foot or two of it to be retracted through the ring or loop on the mooring. The release line has to either remain attached to the mooring line, or to break free independently. Both lines will then be pulled back and aboard. With only a short piece of line needing to be withdrawn through the mooring ring or loop a snarl is less likely. The release line also should have been pulled well out of the way, so both lines have less of a tendency to 'get their panties all tied into a knot', as I believe the correct seafaring terminology for this situation is.

A release shackle or such-like might work, but I abhor the idea of all the filth and Schmutz collecting on it and possibly jamming it up. Surely there must be a line-only method out there, neat, simple and tidy. Perhaps even something involving an additional steel ring. Can anyone quote or point to chapter and verse on this? So far I've seen nothing in the basic boilerplate of the sailing literature.

A quick safe method would sure make my life easier, as currently I need to watch wind and tide, release bow or stern, run back to undo the other end and then double back to the wheel and throttle... the compleate one-man show. So if anything does not work just right, that's the end of the one-trick pony performance.

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Old 05-29-2010, 11:01 PM   #2
redbopeep's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2007
Home Port: Washington DC
Vessel Name: SV Mahdee
Posts: 3,236

I'm scratching my head here.

There are many different mooring set ups. We've been on 2 point moorings with a pick up line between the two--sometimes a floating line (poly) sonmetimes a sinker (nylon) we've never had what you're talking about happen on those. The most recent mooring we were on, we had our lines looped through the tops of the mooring ball shackles (one at bow, one at stern) and just pull it in as you've described. Don't know quite how it would get too tangled up since there's not that much line out.

If it is your mooring that you will return to, you can always rig permanent mooring pennants to the balls, connect them with a pick up line with pick up stick, and cast the whole mess aside when you leave. Using nylon lines (they sink), this is what we had down in San Diego and it worked fine. You just need a good cleat or bit to attach both to on your boat. In our case, the front wen to a bit on the windlass and the stern to a sheet winch. You do have to pay attention to tide/current or you will fowl the prop with sinking lines though.

"Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

What we're doing - The sailing life aboard and the Schooner Chandlery.

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